Best practices creating customized layout files (pagx) for your organization

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01-29-2021 07:05 AM
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CarolineLindhe
Occasional Contributor

My department has created customized layouts for different sizes and orientations that should make it easier and speed up the creation of layouts across my organization. 

To help the users as much as possible my colleagues and I have tried to prepare almost everything except the goedata. 

One of our layouts  consist of a Map Frame with attached Map Surrounds and Dynamic Text, different kinds of grids that and a instruction help text box. The user is supposed to add one or serveral of the layouts to an existing project and then connect the layouts Map Frame to an existing Map in the project. The next step is to fill out the Metadata for the Map to populate dynamic text boxes in the layout. Last step is to choose what grids- and graticules to show.

Unfortunately these prepared layouts seem to take a long time to add to a project (they are added directly but it takes maybe 10 minutes for it to show all the stuff in the paper) and use. Maybe there is a better way to make layout templates? Note also that the templates need to work in different versions of Pro. The layouts at the moment are produced in 2.4 but works best in 2.6 and 2.7 and not as great in 2.4 and 2.3. Can the layouts become corrupt?

Any best practices, ideas from the community are very welcome!

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AubriKinghorn
Esri Contributor

I'm glad it worked! Dynamic text tags are designed for layouts and reports, so they won't work for the metadata form sadly. However, if your goal is to simplify or eliminate the yellow instruction box you could considering creating tasks for common workflows instead of the instruction box. Learn more about how to create and share tasks here: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/latest/help/tasks/whatistask.htm

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CarolineLindhe
Occasional Contributor

Ok, I guess the yellow terrifying textbox will have to do 😀 Thanks again for all your help!

 

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AubriKinghorn
Esri Contributor

Hi Caroline,

It sounds like you are already following some of the best practices for layout files. Are your layout files on local machines or a shared network? Importing files over a network can be significantly slower, which may account for some of what you are seeing. If you can have people download the files onto their local machines before importing them (especially in older versions of Pro) you may see an improvement. Improvements to layout performance and data connections have been made in recent Pro releases, which is probably why the layout files behave better on newer builds.

Cheers,

Aubri

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CarolineLindhe
Occasional Contributor

Thanks Aubri for your quick reply. It sounds like the issue has to do with the different versions. I just tried to open one of our A4-layout templates on two identical machines, but one machine has 2.4 and one has 2.6. It took 5 seconds on the 2.6-machine and it still has not opened on the 2.4-machine (more than 5 minutes later). The templates are saved locally in the same structure on the C-drive.

A related question. The Map in the Map Frame that is used in the template has lots of dynamic text attached to it and when the Map is changed those text boxes are still there but the example text does not show. Is there a way to come around this so that it gets easier for the user to fill out the correct information in the metadata that will populate the text boxes? I've attached a before and after picture, with the Map in the template and after changing to another Map.

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AubriKinghorn
Esri Contributor

It looks like the dynamic text is functioning properly. In the After Changing the Map image those values aren't populated for the new map, so the dynamic text has nothing to display. You can use the  emptyStr="<text>" tag to populate the text when those values are blank. Learn more about the empty string tag here: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/latest/help/layouts/add-and-modify-dynamic-text.htm

I hope this helps. 

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CarolineLindhe
Occasional Contributor

Thanks! It worked like a charm. A related question. The empty string text can that be applied to the metadata form so that those boxes still show some kind of text after changing the Map for the Map Frame?

So many questions! My intent is to make the yellow instruction box less exhaustive than it is today.

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AubriKinghorn
Esri Contributor

I'm glad it worked! Dynamic text tags are designed for layouts and reports, so they won't work for the metadata form sadly. However, if your goal is to simplify or eliminate the yellow instruction box you could considering creating tasks for common workflows instead of the instruction box. Learn more about how to create and share tasks here: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/latest/help/tasks/whatistask.htm

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CarolineLindhe
Occasional Contributor

Ok, I guess the yellow terrifying textbox will have to do 😀 Thanks again for all your help!

 

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